“The popular cliché has managed to develop a mystical quality of cosmic proportions,” says Cameron Buettel of Grace to You. According to Buettel, God may put up a “hedge of protection” but He may also remove it, as he did in Job’s case in order to put his faith to the test. “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Jesus told the apostles to expect trials: “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:16–19)
So, with this in mind is it biblical to pray for a hedge of protection?
Students are paying big bucks to find out “who am I”? New Age guru Deepak Chopra, spiritual guide to Oprah and Lady Gaga, ask students to “slip into their inner being” to find the truth within and let it out. The Wall Street Journal has the story:
In a classroom at Columbia Business School on a recent afternoon, roughly 65 students sat in silent meditation, eyes closed, their smartphones and laptops stashed out of sight.
At the front of the class, Deepak Chopra encouraged them to direct their analytical skills inward.
“Bring your awareness into your heart,” he instructed. “Ask, ‘who am I?’ ”
Intro to Accounting, it was not. Mr. Chopra’s course, Just Capital & Cause-Driven Marketing, invokes Hindu goddesses, features a band of urban yogis and asks students to diagram their “soul profile.” With guest lectures from chief executives and storytelling exercises, the three-day seminar aims to teach M.B.A.s how to design and market ventures that both make money and do good somehow.
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 NASB)
Justification by Faith is a doctrine that was the storm center of the Reformation. It was also a major concern of the Apostle Paul. As we study his epistles we can plainly see that he considered this doctrine to be the heart of the gospel. (Romans 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Galatians 2:15-5:1) It also shaped both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Corinthians 5:13-21; Philippians 3:4-14)
The messages on Netflix people are going to hear will come from false teachers such as Ed Young Jr., Steven Furtick and Joyce Meyer, so this is really really bad news. People who are seeking truth will not hear it from those mentioned here. Christian Examiner has the report:
Netflix viewers can now get more than entertainment from their monthly subscriptions. They can find Christian teaching from the on-demand video service.
Ed Young Jr., Steven Furtick, Joyce Meyer and Andy Stanley now all have teaching series available on the entertainment venue. According to a Religious News Service article, Young spearheaded the effort.
“I believe if Jesus were on planet Earth today in the flesh he’d be on Netflix,” Young,
pastor [wolf in sheep’s clothing] of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, told RNS.
Christian News Network reports:
During his first trip to an Islamic mosque during his presidency, Barack Obama called upon Christians to “build bridges” with Muslims and vice versa, urging greater tolerance for the Islamic religion, which he contended “has always been a part of America.”
As previously reported, Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday was to serve as a gesture to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.” His 40-minute speech sought to portray Muslims as being an integral part of the fabric of the nation, and to call upon Americans to speak more positively of the Islamic religion.
“No matter how much love and humility Bereans have, they tend to take a lot of arrows from their own when contending,” says Amy Spreeman of Berean Research. Amy feels that well-meaning scolders are venting at the wrong people. So she provides the brethren with some food for thought:
Many times when those who stand firm in God’s Word as truth are told they have a critical spirit, it is because we have stepped on the tender toes of a teacher that is teaching the opposite of what biblical Christianity teaches. We are told that they are humble people with good hearts, and we need to stop bashing them.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:18-20 KJV)
The ESV translates the passage above as:
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:18-20 ESV)
The NASB translates the passage above as:
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:18-20 NASB)
What is this “provision” or “help” or “supply” Paul is talking about and how can we “tap” into it ourselves as we stand firm in these Laodicean days? Let’s see…
Christian Examiner reports:
Women may soon have to register with the Selective Service System – the military draft – if Congress alters regulations about who is eligible for call up during a time of war.
On Tuesday, the Army and Marine Corps’ highest ranking officers both said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the integration of women in the military that they favored the change, especially since the restriction on women serving in forward combat units was lifted in 2013. The military has also announced it will soon open all combat roles to women – even, presumably, special operations.
According to Amy Spreeman of Berean Research, the popular blog WND (World Net Daily) is only for those with spiritual discernment. Over the years WND has promoted false teachers such as Jonathan Cahn and sold his books. Likewise they’ve offered “The Blood Moons Prophecy” penned by word-faith teacher John Hagee and controversial Christian historian David Barton’s book on Thomas Jefferson that noted history scholars say is full of misinterpretations and errors. In fact, Barton’s scholarship was so shoddy that publisher Thomas Nelson had the books pulled from bookstores and stopped distribution for what it deemed factual issues with the text. But that hasn’t stopped WND from selling it — and now they’re offering “Harbingr Man.” Amy has the full story:
“There are few books that change the course of a nation. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger, is such a book.” – WND
WND, a ministry that promotes everything from blood moons to mystical soaking prayers, is the go-to news site for millions of Christians. It also heavily promotes author Jonathan Cahn. WND is now peddling a film titled, The Harbinger Man: The Jonathan Cahn Story, released a few months ago.
I’m just going to let the promotional copy speak for itself, with a couple of external research links from recent events:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14 NASB)
There are false Christians today in the world, there were in the past, there will be in the future. The world is always full of false Christians. As I have been saying for many years, there are more false Christians than true ones. I’m afraid to say there may be more false prophets than true prophets. There are certainly more false representatives of Jesus Christ than true representatives of Christ. But as things get worse, as persecution escalates, the false are going to fall away, they are going to fall away because our Lord said so.
10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:10-12 NASB)
They will hold on to their sin. The world as it moves in this direction is going to get worse and worse and worse. The world’s evil is going to escalate. We are seeing it in our own culture today. And people love their sin and as their sin is legitimized, as their sin is normalized, as their sin is legalized they’re going to cherish their sins more openly and more publicly and they’re not going to be interested in the things of Christ and suffering for the cause of Christ.
According to The Guardian:
Britain’s first genetically modified human embryos could be created within months, after scientists were granted permission by the fertility regulator to carry out the procedure.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulator approved a licence application by Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, to perform so-called genome editing on human embryos.
The decision permits Niakan to study the embryos for 14 days for research purposes only. It does not permit them to be implanted into women. Niakan’s research is aimed at finding the genes at play in the early days of human fertilisation.
Christian News Network reports:
A homosexual rights activist states that he has changed his mind and now supports the rights of a Christian bakery that was fined last year for declining to print the phrase “support gay marriage” on a cake. He says that while discrimination against people is wrong, rejecting ideas is indeed lawful.
As previously reported, in May 2014, Ashers Baking Company in Newtonabbey—named after Genesis 49:20—was approached by a same-sex “marriage” supporter to bake a cake that was to feature the phrase, as well as the logo for the homosexual advocacy group QueerSpace. According to the Belfast Telegraph, the cake was for an event in observance of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 NASB)
It is vital for each Christian to grasp the truths from Romans 8:18-39 in order to stand firm in the midst of every conceivable attack our enemy can use against them. As we study this passage we learn several things. One very important truth is that what God reveals is how these truths in this passage are like a dividing line. Those who come down on the side of God’s Sovereignty and the security of the believer within it have it right, while there are many who call themselves Christians who ignore these truths and teach the opposite leaving those who follow them in the bondage of fear and doubt and even believing in the sovereignty of Satan and his demons. There is another group of course, that would be all in the liberal camp who take the name of Christian for whatever reason, but believe in no historical Christian doctrines. No, they only believe in their own man-made “god” and “jesus” made in their own image. These magnificent truths are meant only for genuine believers not those who have never bowed the knee to Christ as Lord and are now walking in repentance having been saved by grace through faith as a gift from God himself.
Over at Pulpit & Pen, Seth Dunn informs us that Ted Cruz is surrounded by cultists, knows it, and it doesn’t seem to bother him. To be fair, to get elected, political candidates need financial support and people’s votes. To that end, Marco Rubio, a Roman Catholic, has stated that he “fully understands Catholic doctrine” yet he would have people believe he’s an evangelical. And Donald Trump states that he’s a “Presbyterian Protestant,” that he believes in God but has never asked for forgiveness. Since the sincere Christian understands sin, repentance and forgiveness, Dunn wonders if The Donald is a true a Christian.
But this is not about Rubio and Trump; it’s about Southern Baptist presidential candidate Ted Cruz praying with a cultist. Seth Dunn begins with the following quote:
“I have prayed for the next George Washington. I believe I have found him (in Ted Cruz).” Glenn Beck
Read our Research Paper on Mormonism
Christian News Network reports:
In what appears to be a serious setback for evolutionists, a team of researchers from Cambridge University discovered that DNA and the way it is affected by modifications are much more complex than previously thought.
A group of scientists with the University of Cambridge recently published a report in the journal “Nature Structural and Molecular Biology,” in which they describe their findings on epigenetic modifications. Epigenetics is the study of how genes in organisms are switched on and off.
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” (Romans 4:7-8 NASB)
The Church, the genuine Church that is, is made up of people whose sins have been forgiven by our merciful God. What is the basis for this forgiveness? Are these God has forgiven more worthy than those outside the Church? Let us look at the paradox of our Holy, Righteous, and Just God who proclaims that He will not forgive those who have sinned against Him, but who does show mercy to some.
Blogger and Bible teacher Erin Benziger observes that many professing Christians are ignorantly utilizing social media for the celebration of “self.” Erin points out that while Christians may wish to appear spiritual and humble, we ultimately end up exclaiming, “Hey! Look at me! Look at how amazing I am! Look at how much more spiritual I am than you! Look at how much cuter my children are than yours; I must be more blessed! Look at how much more precious my ‘quiet time’ is!”
Erin begins her piece…
Christians truly are a unique bunch. We are in the world, but not of it. We strive to serve our Lord Jesus Christ well in the midst of a world that is hostile to Him and to His message. We know we have been called out of this world because, in reality, we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
And yet, we do not hide our faith. We do not silence our message. We desire that the world know we are Christians so that it may hear the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ alone. So at times we must utilize the tools of the world in order to aid us in our mission. And this is okay, so long as the execution of the task does not subsequently result in sin or tarnish the name of Christ.
3 Ἐν σαρκὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦντες οὐ κατὰ σάρκα στρατευόμεθα, 4 τὰ γὰρ ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας ἡμῶν οὐ σαρκικὰ ἀλλὰ δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὀχυρωμάτων, λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντες 5 καὶ πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες πᾶν νόημα εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NA28)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not warring according do the to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful through God to the overthrow of strongholds overthrowing reasonings 5 and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God and leading captive every thought into the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
All believers who are still in this life also live and walk in the flesh in a physical sense, but the goal must be to grow into maturity and no longer walk that way in a moral sense (Romans 8:4). Christians who are obediently doing this must actively war according to the spirit, never the flesh, in the battle to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-4). Therefore, those whose ministries are based around appealing to the flesh are actually warring according to the flesh and that does not work, at least not in an eternal sense. What is done in the flesh may look impressive to those who walk in the flesh in a moral sense, but they are impotent and powerless to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ. Why? They cannot successfully oppose satanic assaults on the gospel or any of God’s truths, which explains why the “seeker” oriented “churches” continually morph into more and more bizarre forms.
According to The Daily Signal:
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in trying to prosecute ExxonMobil for supposedly lying to its shareholders and the public about climate change, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that Harris is investigating what ExxonMobil “knew about global warming and what the company told investors.”
Neither Harris nor Schneiderman recognizes the outrageousness of what they are doing—which amounts censoring or restricting speech and debate on what is a contentious scientific theory. In fact, they want not just to stop anyone who questions the global warming theory from being able to speak; they want to punish them with possible civil sanctions or even criminal penalties. As I said before about Schneiderman, Harris needs a remedial lesson in the First Amendment.
Bill Muehlenbeg of Culture Watch fills us in on what’s going on in Australia, where he makes his home. He has included a must read newspaper report that gives us a glimpse of the far left’s direct assault on Christians, as well as on all religious and cultural groups “which may have any unease about the homosexual lifestyle.” No one had better defy the LGBT police! Muehlenberg warns: “The totalitarian implications of all this should be lost on none of us.”
What you’re about to read is chilling.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. (Luke 17:5-6 NASB)
This Christian walk is actually a pilgrimage through life. It begins at salvation and continues to the Celestial City where the believer will be with the Lord eternally. However, the journey itself is the means through which God sanctifies His children. Satan hinders God’s people at every turn. The more they are devoted to the Lord and obey Him, the more He hinders. God allows this in order to peel away the layers of pride and self-sufficiency in each believer. These things are bound to this world and flesh and, therefore, are impotent to bring joy to the believer and glory to God. Even in our “devotion” we can fall into the trap of self-focus and self-righteousness. Therefore, God allows Satan to hinder us that we will see clearly that our joy and fulfillment are only in humbly submitting to the Lord in all things instead of always getting our way about our circumstances, which are ordained by God. This is also true for those whom God has ordained to stand firm and use His discernment and wisdom to withstand the enemy’s attacks on the church through heresies and growing apostasy. As we uncover and expose what is really going on in the visible church we must do so in light of the spiritual warfare going on all around us. As God uses us we must be even more alert and prepared for Satan’s hindering attacks. His goal is to destroy our faith and drive a wedge between us and our Lord. He will use other people and our circumstances to do this. We must, therefore, ask God to increase our faith and help our unbelief each day in order to do what we do for the Lord in prayerful humility with the fortitude He gives us. It must be for His glory alone.
Will Hall of Baptist Message believes that many Southern Baptists are asking whether the ERLC, under the leadership of Russell Moore, truly represents them. Has Moore shown contempt for Christians who think differently than him, as Hall suggests? He asserts that “Moore’s scale for assessing one’s biblical bona fides appears politically calculated to raise his own stock at the expense of other evangelical conservatives.”
See if you agree:
When an unnamed staffer “boasted” to the online media outlet Think Progress in October 2014 that Russell Moore had “completely rebranded” the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, few could have imagined what this meant.
However, Moore’s all-in campaign against presidential candidate Donald Trump, highlighted by his most recent attacks on Liberty University for hosting Trump at a student convocation, reveals something quite unexpected about Moore when he was elected to lead the ERLC in 2013—a penchant for disdain for Christians who think differently than him.
Moore rightly points out Trump’s moral flaws—and character should count—and he has a right and responsibility to comment on Trump’s policies and to share his view of what these might mean in terms of Christian values.
But Moore’s dislike for Trump goes beyond the pale, translating into disrespect and even contempt for any Christian who might weigh these considerations differently than Moore when comparing the range of personal beliefs and behaviors as well as public records of ability and achievement within such a large field of candidates for the White House.